If you're a diehard SEC football fan, you know how critical every position is. If you have a subpar tackles? Good luck with those defensive linemen and linebackers, right? Ineffective defensive backs? Good luck stopping the opposing wide receivers. There's very little room for error.
Every position is crucial.
So today, we take a look at the top wide receiver in the SEC — and there are some good ones to choose from, no question. Who are the guys who catch the key pass, snag that key first down? And who holds their own when that defensive back comes for his head?
HERO Sports will break down every position and let you know what we think. We realize we may have a backup listed here and there in the list below, but we think we have the top players at the position listed.
1. CALVIN RIDLEY, JR. — ALABAMA
THE SKINNY: Ridley (6-1/190) has been a mainstay in the Crimson Tide passing attack since he arrived on campus. He's a dangerous threat who become Jalen Hurt's go-to guy during Alabama's incredible 2016 run. He also is held in high regard by NFL scouts and things are looking good for an early entree into the draft next spring, as he is rated the No. 1 wide receiver in his own 2019 class. Look for big things again, and then by this time next year he'll be training with the NFL boys.
STATS: In two seasons, Ridley has been incredible, catching 161 career passes for 1,814 yards and 14 touchdowns.
2. CHRISTIAN KIRK, JR. — TEXAS A&M
THE SKINNY: Kirk (5-11/200) is perplexing — do you love him more as a wide receiver? Or do you love him more at punt returner, where he's been an electric threat for two years now, returning five punts for touchdowns. Kirk was a 1,000-yard receiver his first year, and followed it up with a near 1,000-yard season last year. With sub 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash, there's no wonder NFL scouts are already staring at him, and it'd be surprising if he didn't declare for the draft a year early.
STATS: In his first two seasons of college football, he's nearly hit the 2,000-yard mark already — catching 163 passes for 1,937 yards and 16 touchdowns in the first two years.
3. ANTONIO CALLAWAY, JR. — FLORIDA
THE SKINNY: Callaway (5-11/200) has had some off-the-field problems during the offseason, but when he is able to right the ship and get back on the field, he'll be one of the top pass receiving threats in the entire SEC. With legitimate 4.4-second range speed in the 40-yard dash, he can slice and dice a defense if paired up with consistent quarterbacking — which has been a problem at Florida for years. Look for him to explode this fall and get back on the right path.
STATS: Callaway has darted his way around defenses for two years, catching 89 passes for 1,399 yards and 7 TDs.
4. DEEBO SAMUEL, JR. — SOUTH CAROLINA
THE SKINNY: Samuel (5-11/210) exploded last fall with 783 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, putting him squarely on the map in the eyes of NFL scouts. The site NFLDraftScout.com already has him listed as the No. 7 receiver in the 2019 draft class, and he still has two years to impress. Samuel will be a draft pick in the near future.
STATS: Samuel has caught 71 passes for 944 yards and 2 scores in two seasons, but 783 of those yards came last year.
5. D.J. CHARK, SR. — LSU
THE SKINNY: Chark (6-2/190) has unbelievable speed and length and that is what delights NFL scouts when it comes to his abilities. He hasn't exploded just yet, statistically, but look for that to change this fall and for Chark to prove he deserves the positive attention. He has all the tools to be the electric receiver he flashed glimpses of last year. He's just the deep threat a team would want.
STATS: Chark is poised to explode this fall, just watch. He has caught 26 passes for 466 yards and 3 TDs — good for 18.3 yards per catch.
Is five not enough? Here's a look at the next best batch of great wide receivers in the SEC: